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CBS well placed to ride out recession

Thursday 31st July 2008

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CBS Canterbury, the NZAX-listed building society, says it is well placed in "the resilient Canterbury regional economy" to ride through New Zealand's economic recession with its market position enhanced.

"We are operating in a very competitive trading environment," chairman Gary Leech, told shareholders at the annual meeting in Ashburton yesterday.

"The challenge is to continue to have quality lending opportunities in our traditional markets, said Leech. "Having said that, we are still experiencing a growth in lending higher than for the same period last year."

The society's asset base has grown for the second successive year, reflecting the successful merger of the Canterbury Building Society with the former Loan and Building Society under the CBS Canterbury brand.

The society's deposit base now exceeds $560 million compared with $319 million in March 2008.

In early 2007 CBS Canterbury achieved an amalgamation with SMC Building Society, followed by the merger with LBS at the beginning of 2008.

The flow-on effect of the turmoil in international financial markets had increased borrowing costs and imposed pressure on margins. This had constrained the society's ability to accelerate profit growth, with the 2008 net operating profit up 31% to $3.2 million but slightly less than forecast.

Lending increased by 66% to $449 million in the latest year, on the consolidation of LBS's business activities.

CBS Canterbury paid a fully imputed final dividend of 8 cents per share last week, making total ordinary dividend 16 cents per share for the year.


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